Sand fire destroys 10 homes, is 35% contained

Sand fire destroys 10 homes, is 35% contained
A firefighter watches as a DC-10 helps battle the Sand fire in Northern California on July 26. (Hector Amezcua / Associated Press)

A 3,800-acre blaze in Northern California has forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents, destroyed 10 homes and may not be fully contained until the first week of August, officials said.

As of 9:30 a.m. Sunday, the Sand fire east of Sacramento was 35% contained, said Lynne Tolmachoff, spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Meanwhile, a separate 2,100-acre fire continues to burn out of control in Yosemite National Park, destroying one home.


About 1,500 firefighters were battling the flames of the Sand fire Sunday, Tolmachoff said, along with six air tankers and six water-dropping helicopters. One inmate firefighter suffered minor injuries Saturday, she said.

By Sunday morning, officials said, the fire had destroyed 10 homes in two separate areas.

Half of the houses were near San Ridge Road near California 49, where the fire started Friday afternoon when a vehicle drove through dry brush, Tolmachoff said. The rest of the homes were farther south and east, burned by a part of the fire that "blew up" Saturday afternoon, stoked by a combination of high temperatures, low humidity and 20-mph wind gusts, she said.

Acknowledging that full containment by the first week of August "sounded bad," Tolmachoff said the blaze might brought under control sooner if weather conditions become more favorable.

A Red Cross shelter set up at Ponderosa High School in Shingle Springs is aiding about 1,200 people evacuated from more than 500 homes in the area, officials said.

Details about road closures are available on CalFire's Sand fire incident page.

The fire agency is also offering support for firefighters battling the blaze in Yosemite National Park, Tolmachoff said.

Scott Gediman, a spokesman for the park, said the fire, which has grown to 2,100 acres, started at 4 p.m. Saturday near El Portal. He said more than 400 firefighters were attacking the flames on the ground and from the air, with more expected to arrive throughout the day Sunday.

One home was burned by the fire Saturday night, officials said, and about 100 homes in the communities of Old El Portal and La Floresta had been evacuated.

As of 10:45 a.m. Sunday, there was no containment of the fire. Park officials do not yet know how the blaze started and have no estimate of when it might be brought under control, Gediman said.

"We have steep, rugged terrain and hot, dry conditions. It's supposed to be over 100 here today," he said. "We're working aggressively to get the fire out."

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